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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Thunderbirds Are GO / Thunderbird 6 [Blu-ray]


(David Lane, 1966 / 1968)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: United Artists / MGM

Video: Twilight Time



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player) Limited to 3,000 Copies!

Thunderbirds Are GO: Runtime: 1:33:15.631

Thunderbird 6 Runtime: 1:29:20.396 

Disc Size: 48,305,237,372 bytes

Thunderbirds Are GO Feature Size: 20,294,031,360 bytes

Thunderbird 6 Feature Size: 19,335,751,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May, 2014



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Thunderbirds Are GO:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3689 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3689 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1071 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1071 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB)

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB
DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1761 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1761 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)


Thunderbird 6:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3807 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3807 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1095 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1095 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -1dB)

DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1764 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1764 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), None



Thunderbirds Are GO:

Isolated Score Track

Audio Commentary with Film Historians Jeff Bond and Nick Redman
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane
Excitement Is Go! - Making Thunderbirds (22:30)
Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Unseen Test Footage (17:02)
History and Appeal (10:26)
Factory of Dolls and Rockets (8:41)
Epics in Miniature (7:50)
Photo Montage (3:23)
Come with Me to the Rushes (:29)
What Does F.A.B. Mean? (:31)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:26)
MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer


Thunderbird 6:

Isolated Score Track
Audio Commentary with Producer Sylvia Anderson and Director David Lane
Lady Penelope (9:51)
Building Better Puppets (8:10)
Tiger Moth (6:20)

Photo Montage (2:30)
A Call from Stanley Kubrick (:56)
A Television Tribute (:29)
Original Theatrical Trailer (1:59)


Liner notes by Julie Kirgo




Thunderbirds Are GO:



Thunderbird 6:



Description: Thunderbirds Are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968) are the cinematic evolution of Gerry Anderson’s hugely popular British TV series, Thunderbirds (1965-66): a mix of puppetry (via the patented Supermarionation process, which allowed synchronization of dialogue with marionette movement), sci-fi futurism, action-adventure, and undeniably fabulous Sixties-era design. Both films weave tales of the adventures of the Tracy Family, a father and five sons who, with the assistance of the glamorous British agent Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, run International Rescue, an elite team who roam the globe—and beyond—in a humanitarian effort to help their fellow men.




The Film:

Thunderbirds Are Go is a 1966 British science-fiction film based on Thunderbirds, a 1960s television series starring marionette puppets and featuring scale model effects in a filming process dubbed "Supermarionation". Written by Thunderbirds creators Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, directed by David Lane and produced by AP Films, Thunderbirds Are Go develops the franchise with a plot focusing on the futuristic spacecraft Zero-X and its manned mission to Mars. When Zero-X suffers a mechanical failure during re-entry, it is up to International Rescue, with the aid of the Thunderbird machines, to save the astronauts on board before the spacecraft is obliterated in a crash landing.

Filmed from March to June 1966 and premiering in December, Thunderbirds Are Go includes, in a first for an AP Films production, cameo appearances from puppets of real-life celebrities Cliff Richard and The Shadows, who also contributed to the musical score. It is also the first motion picture to have been filmed with an early form of video assist technology known as "Add-a-Vision", and incorporated landscape footage that was shot on location in Portugal. Special effects pieces, produced under the supervision of Derek Meddings and including rocket launch sequences, space shots and a miniature representation of the Martian surface, required six months to complete.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Thunderbird 6 is a 1968 British science-fiction adventure film written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, directed by David Lane and produced by Century 21 Cinema. A sequel to 1966's Thunderbirds Are Go, it was the second film to be adapted from the 1960s television series Thunderbirds, which combined scale models and special effects with marionette puppet characters in a filming process that the Andersons termed "Supermarionation". Intended to provide a lighter-hearted cinematic experience to contrast with the harder science of Thunderbirds Are Go, the Andersons elected to base the plot of Thunderbird 6 on Skyship One, a futuristic airship that is the latest project of the scientist Brains.

Alan, Tin-Tin, Lady Penelope and Parker represent International Rescue on Skyship One's round-the-world maiden flight, unaware that criminal mastermind The Hood is once again plotting to acquire the secrets of the Thunderbird machines. Paid agents of The Hood murder the original crew of Skyship One prior to take-off and assume their identities, entertaining the guests while scheming to lure the Tracy brothers into a trap. Meanwhile, Brains' efforts to produce a satisfactory design concept for Jeff's proposed Thunderbird 6 collide with fate when Skyship One is damaged and Alan's old Tiger Moth biplane appears to be the only hope of saving the International Rescue group and their impostor hosts.

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, this Twilight Time Blu-ray package offers the two Thunderbird Feature films: Thunderbirds Are GO and Thunderbird 6. They share a lone Blu-ray disc and have similar bitrates looking very similar. This is dual-layered with a modest bitrate but looks quite impressive at times. The colors can be very vibrant, bordering on saturation, and every visuals detail of the high resolution only adds to the art direction. This is definitely the best way to watch Thunderbirds. There is pleasing detail exported, but not a lot of depth. No damage or speckles are visible. The visuals are bright and I noted no noise. The Blu-ray image looks great through most of the presentation with no major flaws. Highly appealing video.




Thunderbirds Are GO:









Thunderbird 6:











Audio :

Both features offer a DTS-HD Master 5.1 bump at around 3500 kbps and an original mono in a DTS-HD Master at 1071 kbps. The surround has only a few impressive separations, but it tends to work with the presentation adding another layer of 'atmosphere'. The lossless is consistent - notable in the score by Barry Gray. This adds quite a bit to the presentation and being uncompressed helps support the presentation at a higher level. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.



Extras :

Along with the Thunderbirds Are GO feature are an optional Isolated Score Track, plus two audio commentaries. The first with film historians Jeff Bond and Nick Redman and the second, a lighter affair, with producer Sylvia Anderson and director David Lane. Excitement Is Go! - is a 22-minute making of Thunderbirds which shows some archival stills in the background and brief interviews. Cliff Richard & The Shadows - Unseen Test Footage is 17-minutes of the group - previous thought lost but recovered in 2013. There are some standard featurettes abourt production - History and Appeal running 10-minutes, Factory of Dolls and Rockets - 9-minutes, 8-minutes of Epics in Miniature - then there is a photo montage and some brief snippets from Sylvia Anderson regarding 'rushes' and what 'F.A.B.' means. There is also an original theatrical trailer.

Accessible from the Thunderbird 6 menus is another Isolated Score Track in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Sylvia Anderson and David Lane do another enjoyable commentary. The featurettes involve Lady Penelope (9:51), Building Better Puppets (8:10), Tiger Moth (6:20), then another photo montage and Sylvia Anderson briefly commenting on 'A Call from Stanley Kubrick' and a 'Television Tribute'. Lastly is another original theatrical trailer. This package also has 8-pages of liner notes with photos plus some text by Julie Kirgo.


Thunderbirds Are GO:



Thunderbird 6:



Quite the incredible package from Twilight Time. I know Thunderbirds have a huge following and I can see this going out of print very quickly and then fetching big bucks in auctions (like most from this distributor - it is limited to 3,000 units). There is an intangible appeal about the puppetry. It offers some heavy kitsch and the art direction is always interesting. The, phenomenally stacked Blu-ray has so much, even aside from the 3 hours of 2 Thunderbird features. This is very cool, nostalgic stuff and can certainly recommend to anyone, even remotely, keen. 

Gary Tooze

May 26th, 2014


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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